Since the House adjourned last July the hand of death has been busy among us, and to-day we mourn a number of familiar faces that we know we shall not see in this Chamber again. Among others who have gone from us is one whose loss strikes Members of His Majesty's Government with peculiar poignancy because he was a colleague. Lord Stanley had been a Member of the Cabinet for only a few months, but he was an old friend of many of us and he had won the affection and regard of every one of us. I think everyone here will be deeply conscious of the tragedy of his untimely death. He was the heir of a great house which has a long and illustrious record of public service. He had for many years been a Member of this House, and although he was a Member of the National Government and of the Conservative party he had no enemies here.
Everybody, I think, was watching with sympathy his entry upon a high office which, I have reason to believe, formed the summit of his own political ambition. So great, indeed, was his keenness and his interest in Imperial relations that he insisted on carrying out his intention to visit Canada, although even then he was suffering from the disease which has now ended fatally. Perhaps in that office he would have, for the first time, found an opportunity of showing the full extent of his powers, for those who knew him best had long recognised that he possessed to an exceptional degree the high qualities of steady judgment and sterling good sense, combined with a complete and utter selflessness and integrity of purpose.
I am sure that hon. Members in all parts of the House will share the sorrow which is felt on this Bench, and that they would desire to offer their deep sympathy to his widow, to his whole family and, perhaps, particularly, to his father, who holds a special place in the affections of his countrymen and who was happy in the knowledge that both his sons were giving their services to their country and the Empire.
I desire to express, on behalf of the Members of the Opposition and of myself, our sorrow at the untimely death of Lord Stanley and our sincere sympathy with all the members of his family. Few of us had thought when we heard that he was taken ill in Canada, that his life was in danger, and it was a great shock to learn of his death. Lord Stanley was deservedly popular in this House, and in all parts of the House, and to the varied offices of State which he filled with great distinction, he brought character, courtesy, diligence, and ability. It is sad that so soon after attaining a position where he would have had full scope for these qualities, he has been taken away. To myself, as to many others on this side, he was a political opponent but a personal friend, and we shall long remember him and regret the loss that we have sustained by his death.
I rise to associate my hon. Friends and myself both with the moving tributes which have been paid by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to Lord Stanley, whose untimely loss is mourned by every Member of this House, and also with the condolences which we offer with deep sincerity to his family. Loyal to his friends, courteous to his opponents, untiring in the service of the State, he brought to the work and comradeship of Parliament, not only high qualities of mind and unusual capacity for administration, but also a strong, true, virile but gentle nature which remains with us a fragrant and precious memory abiding in this House which he so faithfully served.